Guernica

The piece below is from the D.i.Y.CULTURE#10 | The Anarchist Revolution – Then And Now edition.

PLEASE NOTE – For the best viewing experience, we recommend that you download the PDF of DiY Culture No.9 from DropBox to your PC/laptop/phone.

A German officer with an interest in art, visited Picasso in his Paris studio during the Second World War. There he saw Guernica and, shocked at the modernist ‘chaos’ of the painting, asked Picasso: ‘Did you do this’? Picasso calmly replied: ‘No, you did’.

26th April 1937. During a continuous three hour bombardment, Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques and the centre of their cultural tradition, was, at the behest of Franco, completely destroyed by a fleet of German and Italian aircraft. Stuka dive-bombers plunged low from above the centre of the town to machine-gun those of the civilian population who were attempting to take refuge in the fields. The air raid lasted for four hours, decimating the population and was deliberately planned for a Monday, which was a busy market day, in order to kill as many civilians as possible.

Hitler lent the Condor Legion, a unit of the German Luftwaffe, to Franco’s nationalist forces to help them repress the republican cause and to quell the threat of communism and the anarchist revolution that had put the working class firmly in the saddle in many regions. The loan of these warplanes also allowed the Nazis to practise their blitzkrieg tactics, later used in the second world war. Franco enjoyed the full support of the anti-communist British establishment, whilst the governments of Germany, Italy and to a lesser extent Portugal, contributed money, munitions, manpower and support to Nationalist forces. The Vatican, not only funded Franco’s fascism, but described the conflict in Spain as a ‘Crusade against the enemies of God and the Church’.

And of course, the USA got involved and went on to support the ruthless dictatorship of Franco as an ally against the Soviet Union and to use Spain as a convenient airbase. Automakers Ford, Studebaker, and General Motors sold a total of 12,000 trucks to the Nationalists. The American-owned Vacuum Oil Company in Tangier refused to sell to Republican ships and at the outbreak of the war, the Texas Oil Company (Texaco) rerouted oil tankers headed for the republic, to the Nationalist controlled port of Tenerife, supplying gasoline on credit to Franco.

War, what is is good for? It’s good for profit and keeping power in the hands of a few.

Revealed: Secret battle ‘anarchist’ Picasso lost to become French.

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